The Tatra line of streamlined cars debuted on March 5, 1934 with the debut of the T-77, followed by the T-77a and the T-87. Introduced in 1936, the Tatra T-97 concept has possible roots in sketches of Hungarian engineer Béla Barényi. The design was finalized by Erich Ledwinka, one of the sons of Hans Ledwinka, who is credited with the design of Tatra’s “T cars.”
The T-97 was smaller and more economical than its predecessor the T-87. And although Tatra was the only Central European car permitted by the Nazis to produce civilian cars during the war, the T-97 soon became a casualty. It apparently looked too much like the KdF-Wagen or the new German “people’s car.” Tatra sued Ferdinand Porsche for using its design for the VW Beatle. In 1985 Tatra was awarded a one million Deutschmark settlement, a pittance compared to the profits VW made on the design.